As soldiers train for battle, performers hone their talents for audiences, doctors train for the healing arts, and citizens sharpen skills for the trades, I believe we are all, in every life’s situation and circumstance, preparing for the highlights of our lives and the agonizing challenges that confront us on our journeys.
With my husband now facing cancer, one that responds well to treatment but by far the most painful beyond excruciating, I am becoming aware that we possess the tools we need to face this hideous beast.
Over three years ago, I thought of how fortunate we were as a family. While we had experienced heartache, had never known tragedy. Then my 17-year-old nephew suffered a swimming accident that left him a quadriplegic.
It was then the changing of the guards marched from shock and grief to despair and anger — daily, hourly and sometimes by the minute.
But something surprised me. Where I would have thought I would hysterically collapse, I found a new ability to deal. To step up to the tasks needed without even an awareness of my own uneasiness (no small feat for one who grows squeamish at the sight of scrapes, bruises and road kill). A new and foreign strength walked with me and infused patience and endurance into my character and person.
And now, once again we are visited by an uncertain challenge that commands our attention to make ready for war. So we dress ourselves with battle fatigues sewn together from life experiences. We reach out and seize tools that have been so graciously welded for us. Tools to strengthen and give hope.
And so we have the choice: to frantically and fearfully react to the daunting drama or place our feet firm and stand in what we believe. And therein lies the war.